[photo, Goldstein Treasury Building, 80 Calvert St., Annapolis, Maryland] Goldstein Treasury Building, 80 Calvert St., Annapolis, MD 21404 - 0466

The office of the Comptroller of Maryland was established by the Constitution of 1851 (Art. VI, secs. 1-4). Concerned about the potential for fraud and corruption in the administration of the public treasury, delegates to the 1850 Constitutional Convention established the office as a check on the State Treasurer.

Goldstein Treasury Building, Annapolis, Maryland, July 2010. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

Duties of the Comptroller's office, beginning with the broad mandate to exercise "general superintendence of the fiscal affairs of the State", collect taxes and maintain the general ledger, are enumerated in the Maryland Constitution. In contrast, the State Treasurer oversees the State Treasury, invests funds received by the State, issues and redeems bonds, and pays the obligations of State government. Whereas, the Comptroller (or deputies) countersigns all checks drawn by the State Treasurer upon the deposits of the State. The Comptroller also prescribes the formalities for transfer of other evidence of State debt, and countersigns such papers (Code State Government Article, secs. 4-101 through 4-111).

Many State taxes are administered and collected by the Comptroller. These include personal and corporate income taxes (including employee withholding); retail sales and use taxes; motor vehicle fuel tax; road tax on motor carriers; State tobacco tax; Maryland estate tax; excise taxes on beer, wine, and liquor; and the State admissions and amusement tax on electronic bingo and electronic tip jars. Administration of the Abandoned Property and Dormant Bank Account Laws also is a responsibility of this office.

Local admissions and amusement tax revenues are collected by the Comptroller as well. These tax rates are set by local officials, and the Comptroller distributes the local revenue to each county and Baltimore City. In addition, revenues collected by the Maryland Racing Commission, along with motor vehicle revenues, are distributed to local jurisdictions by the Comptroller's Office.

Each month the Comptroller collects license revenues, State property transfer taxes, death taxes, and real and personal property taxes from the clerks of the courts, registers of wills, and county treasurers of each county. The Comptroller also prescribes the form of all licenses required by the State licensing laws, which are issued through the clerks of the county courts. Distribution of certain taxes and revenue is made to Maryland cities, towns, and counties, and to other State agencies as prescribed by law (Code Business Regulation Article, secs. 11-401 through 11-406; Code Tax - General Article, secs. 2-201 through 2-203, 2-301, 2-302, 2-606 through 2-609, 2-614, 2-617, 2-901, 2-902, 2-1001 through 2-1004, 2-1506; Code Transportation Article, secs. 8-401 through 8-407).

By law, the Comptroller of Maryland serves on the Board of Public Works; the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation; the Board of State Canvassers; the Capital Debt Affordability Committee; the College Savings Plans of Maryland Board; the Commission on the State Debt; the Maryland Food Center Authority; the Hall of Records Commission; the Maryland Industrial Development Financing Authority; the Board of Trustees for the State Retirement and Pension System; the Board of Revenue Estimates; and the Maryland State Employees Surety Bond Committee. The Comptroller also serves on the Maryland Commission on Public Art; the Financial Education and Capability Commission; and the Joint Enforcement Task Force on Workplace Fraud.

The Comptroller is elected by the voters to a term of four years (Const., Art. VI, sec. 1). The number of terms a Comptroller may serve is not limited. Neither the Constitution nor the Annotated Code of Maryland specifies qualifications for this office. Yet, the Comptroller must give a bond and keep the office at the seat of government. The Comptroller begins his duties on the third Monday in January following election.

Reporting to the Comptroller, the Deputy Comptroller is responsible for Operations, and the Chief of Staff oversees Administration.

[photo, Goldstein Treasury Building, Annapolis, Maryland]


P. O. Box 466, Goldstein Treasury Building, 80 Calvert St., Annapolis, MD 21404 - 0466

Created in 1945, the Board of Revenue Estimates is concerned with revenues that will fund State government (Chapter 991, Acts of 1945). The Board reviews the findings and recommendations of the Bureau of Revenue Estimates. The Board then sends to the Governor, for submission to the General Assembly, an itemized statement of estimated revenues for the current and next fiscal years. With the itemized statement, the Board submits its recommendations to the Governor.

Goldstein Treasury Building, Annapolis, Maryland, March 1998. Photo by Diane P. Frese.

The Board has three ex officio members: the Comptroller of Maryland, the State Treasurer, and the Secretary of Budget and Management. The Director of the Bureau of Revenue Estimates serves as Executive Secretary (Code State Finance and Procurement Article, secs. 6-101, 6-102, 6-106).

P. O. Box 466, Goldstein Treasury Building, 80 Calvert St., Annapolis, MD 21404 - 0466

The Bureau of Revenue Estimates was established in 1945 (Chapter 991, Acts of 1945). The Bureau studies and analyzes all sources of revenue to operate State government. For the Board of Revenue Estimates, the Bureau prepares an analysis of the State's economic outlook, and the itemized statement of anticipated revenue. The Bureau also devises equitable and economical means to collect such revenue and may recommend new revenue sources. Proposals to change Maryland tax laws are analyzed by the Bureau to determine their fiscal impact.

In March, September, and December of every year, the Bureau submits to the Board of Revenue Estimates an itemized statement of estimated State revenues from all sources for the current fiscal year (Code State Finance and Procurement Article, sec. 6-104).


P. O. Box 466, Goldstein Treasury Building, 80 Calvert St., Annapolis, MD 21404 - 0466

Organized in 1994, Administration is responsible for three offices: Communications; Equal Employment Opportunity; and Human Resources.


P. O. Box 466, Goldstein Treasury Building, 80 Calvert St., Annapolis, MD 21404 - 0466

Operations formed in 1994 as Revenue Operations. It oversees the Central Payroll Bureau, and six divisions: Administration and Finance; Compliance; Field Enforcement; General Accounting; Information Technology; and Revenue Administration.


To consolidate administrative duties of the Comptroller of Maryland, the Budget and Finance Division began in 1994. It was renamed the Administration and Finance Division in 1996.

The Division administers the finance, procurement and other administrative functions for the Comptroller. It is responsible for the preparation and execution of the agency's budget, payment of invoices, accounting for expenditures of the agency, and procurement of goods and services (except for those concerned with information technology). The Division also administers the Capital Grants and Loans Program for the Board of Public Works, and accounts for the sale of State General Obligation Bonds. In addition, the Division maintains a centralized mail room and supply facility, and oversees fleet management, timekeeping, and payroll.

Under the Division are four sections: Accounting and Procurement; Capital Projects; Central Services; and Debt Administration.


P. O. Box 2396, Annapolis Data Center, 108 Carroll St., Annapolis, MD 21404 - 2396

Formed in 1953, the Central Payroll Bureau was authorized several years earlier by the Board of Public Works. The Bureau was created to begin a standardized system of paying wages to State government employees. Prior to its formation, each agency issued paychecks. Thereafter, the Bureau (beginning with a few agencies) extended a uniform payroll system throughout State government.

Originally, the Comptroller of Maryland and the State Treasurer jointly exercised supervision over the Bureau. This arrangement ended in 1958. Since that time, the Bureau has reported directly to the Comptroller.

The Central Payroll Bureau processes and issues paychecks to all State employees, including those in the Department of Transportation (though not the Maryland Transit Administration) and the University System of Maryland. The Bureau also handles deductions, payroll taxes, federal withholding (W-2) forms, and other payroll reports for State government.

Under the Bureau are three units: Accounting and Reporting, Post Payroll Audits; Payroll Operations and Business Continuity; and Technical Services.


301 West Preston St., 2nd floor, Baltimore, MD 21201

Created in 1993, the Compliance Division consolidates certain functions of the former Sales and Use Tax Division and the former Income Tax Division.

The Compliance Division enforces all tax laws administered by the Comptroller, including those relating to individual income taxes and business taxes, such as corporate income, withholding, and sales and use taxes. The Division conducts taxpayer audits and investigations, and collects delinquent taxes. In addition, the Division levies tax assessments, processes tax appeals, and enforces sanctions, such as asset liens.

To access, retrieve, and record tax data, the Division uses the automated tax processing and recordation system, known as SMART (State of Maryland Tax System).

Functions of the Compliance Division are overseen by two assistant directors. One is in charge of Business Tax Audits, Business Tax Collections, and Fiscal and Accounting Administration. The other oversees Compliance Programs, Hearings and Appeals, Personal Income Tax Collections, and Unclaimed Property.


Business Tax Audits conducts audits on all business taxes administered by the Comptroller. These taxes include alcohol and tobacco, corporate income, motor fuel, and sales and use.

Business Tax Collections pursues delinquent and deficient taxes from businesses, including employer withholding, sales and use, admission and amusement, and corporate income taxes, and the tire recycling fee. In personal and business tax collection cases, the unit also provides research, litigation representation, and other legal services.

The Fiscal and Accounting Administration oversees the Division's budget and payroll, and monitors supplies and procurement. It also coordinates payments for unclaimed property claims, and issues refunds for overpayment of sales and use tax, and admissions and amusement tax.


Compliance Programs oversees Business Nexus Programs, Bulk Sales and Special Events; Individual Nexus Programs; and Tax Investigation.

The Hearings and Appeals Section hears and issues decisions on all contested tax assessments.

The Personal Income Tax Collections Section collects delinquent and deficient personal income taxes administered by the Comptroller.

Unclaimed Property administers the Maryland Uniform Disposition of Abandoned Property Act (Code Commercial Law Article, secs. 17-101 through 17-326).


In July 1999, the Field Enforcement Division originated when the State License Bureau merged with the Investigative Services Unit of the Compliance Division (including the Motor Fuel Laboratory) to form the Field Enforcement Division. By further reorganization in January 2004, the Field Enforcement Division merged with the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Division to create the Regulatory and Enforcement Division. In October 2005, the Motor Fuel Tax Bureau also was added to the Division. Through restructuring in June 2007, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Bureau and the Motor Fuel Tax Bureau merged to form their own division, and the Regulatory and Enforcement Division again became the Field Enforcement Division.

Trade practice regulations and revenue laws related to alcoholic beverages, tobacco, motor fuel, and sales use taxes are enforced by the Field Enforcement Division. The Division pursues all legal and reasonable means to identify and collect revenues due to the State. Division agents conduct investigations, arrest violators, collect unpaid taxes, issue citations, and perform inspections. From businesses that sell motor fuel, Division compliance inspectors conduct field inspections and collect fuel samples. These inspectors also carry out business license inspections and routinely inspect establishments that sell alcoholic beverages. Agents and inspectors work together to regulate transient vendors and use-tax violators.

The State License Bureau administers and tracks 21 different business licenses issued by clerks of the courts. These licenses are issued to construction companies and warehouses, hawkers and peddlers, restaurants, and traders, among others.


P. O. Box 0746, Goldstein Treasury Building, 80 Calvert St., Annapolis, MD 21404 - 0746

The General Accounting Division was the original office of the State Comptroller, created with the establishment of the office in 1851. The Division maintains the State's general ledger and other accounting records, accounts for all State funds received and disbursed, and countersigns and distributes all State Treasury checks. Annually, the Division prepares the State's general purpose financial statements.

Under the Division, the State's Corporate Purchasing-Card Program reduces the number of invoices and checks used in the purchasing and procurement process. More than 700,000 transactions are made totaling over $200,000,000 each year.

The State and federal offset program also is overseen by the Division. Under this program, vendors who are owed money from State or federal agencies may have these payments offset by the amount of tax dollars owed by those vendors.

Two sections constitute the Division: Administration, Office Systems, and Development; and Financial Reporting, Operations, and Pre-Audits.


P. O. Box 2367, Annapolis Data Center, 108 Carroll St., Annapolis, MD 21404 - 2367

In 1967, the Information Technology Division began as the Data Processing Division, and received its present name in July 1999.

The Division operates the largest computer center in Maryland State government - the Annapolis Data Center. The Center provides mainframe processing for many State agencies, including the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene; the Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation; the State Department of Assessments and Taxation; and the State Retirement and Pension System; as well as for the Comptroller. Operating costs for these services are reimbursed by the using agencies.

For the twenty-four Registers of Wills' offices throughout the State, the Division coordinates information technology services.

Under the Division are five main units: the Annapolis Data Center; Applications Development; Distributed Systems; Fiscal Services; and Security and Internet Systems.


Revenue Administration Center, 110 Carroll St., Annapolis, MD 21411

The Revenue Administration Division was created in July 1993, when the revenue divisions of the Comptroller of Maryland were reorganized from a tax-type to a functional basis. The Division processes paper and electronic tax returns; receives payments from individuals, corporations, businesses, employers, and fiduciaries; issues refunds; and maintains taxpayer records. Part of the revenue received is distributed to Maryland's county and municipal governments.

In November 2008, registration and tax-processing functions formerly overseen by the Motor Fuel, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Regulatory Division were assigned to the Revenue Administration Division.

Through its taxpayer services branch offices, the Division provides free income tax preparation. The Division also helps citizens obtain forms and instructions, and answers questions about Maryland tax laws.

The Division's work is supported by the Maryland State Integrated Tax System (SMART).

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